Wijk bij Duurstede is a town in Utrecht. It is a typically old Dutch town on the Crooked Rhine River. Dikes galore. Subject of Old Master Jakob Isaackszoon van Ruisdael's 1670 iconic Dutch landscape painting.
Wijk bij Duurstede, it's name meaning either Settlement near Dorestad or River bend near Dorestad. Dorestad being one of the most important international trade posts before the city's demise caused by Viking raids. Wijk bij Duurstede is located roughly where this city with an estimated ten thousand inhabitants once stood.
Dorestad was one of, if not the biggest international trading posts of northwest Europe between the end of the seventh and the middle of the ninth century. The town was founded on the remains of a formerly Roman castellum (castle). The city was inhabited by Frisians, but was located near the border of Frisian and Frankish territories, making the city play a key role in many battles amongst the two tribes. Dorestad finally fel into Frankish hands around 719. The town was transferred to the Danish brothers Rorik and Harald in 840, with the city's demise starting not long after, in the ninth century.
The city's prosperous nature attracted attention from the North, with viking raids, often ending with the town being burned down and parts of its population slaughtered, started in 834, with the last noted time being in 863. The exact cause of Dorestad's demise is not known, but the cause is thought to be either the Viking raids, a sand blockage in the river Rhine, which would have severely limited trade, therefore removing what was so dear to Dorestad; trade. Other theories are the shift of power in the Frankish Empire following Charlemagne's death or the lack of a religious centre (i.e. church) in the city, which left rulers and the elite less interested in Dorestad. Dorestad's fall, however, meant the rise of Tiel, Deventer and later Utrecht.
Wijk bij Duurstede
Wijk bij Duurstede, which can be commonly referred to as Wijk, obtained its city rights in 1300. The town was built on the side of a tower, which would later grow out to become the Duurstede Castle (Kasteel Duurstede). Not late after the city was reinforced with ramparts and a moat. Halfway the fourteenth century the city grew in eastern direction, which also prompted the construction of city walls and the thereto beloning city gates.
Wijk bij Duurstede is quite some ways away from the nearest highway, therefore, reaching the town can be a tad complicated.
From Amsterdam, take the A2 heading south towards Utrecht. Shortly after exit 8, turn onto the A12 at Knooppunt Oudenrijn heading towards Arnhem. Follow the A12 for a while, after which you take exit 19 (Bunnik), with a turn to the right at the end of the exitramp, turning onto the N229. Following this road, you will pas the towns of Odijk, Werkhoven and Cothen in that order, after which you will arrive in Wijk bij Duurstede.
From The Hague, Rotterdam and Zeeland, first make your way to Rotterdam, joining the A15 heading for Dordrecht and Tiel at some point. Follow the A15, making sure to not stick to the A16 instead at Knooppunt Ridderkerk, where both highways run the same route for a few kilometers. Make your way past Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht, Sliedrecht and Hardinxveld, using exit 33 (Tiel) to leave the highway, followed by a left turn at the end of the exitramp, heading onto the N835 heading north, crossing over the Betuweroute cargo train line. Follow the N835 across the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal (Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal), turning left on the first roundabout you see, heading for Maurik. Again, follow this road for a while until you see the next roundabout, again, taking a left turn, this time onto the N320. Follow directions to Wijk bij Duurstede from this point on. This will lead you onto the N229, which will get you directly into the city after crossing the Nederrijn river via a small ferry which runs the year round from 6:30-22:30, and charges a mere €0.50 for a single transit across the river. If you would rather avoid such costs, then you should head for Utrecht instead either near Gorinchem or Knooppunt Deil following exit 27 and 29 on the A15 respectively. From Utrecht then, follow the directions above under From Amsterdam.
From Arnhem and the Eastern and Northern Netherlands in general, take the A12 heading for Utrecht, using the exit at Maarsbergen (exit 22), following the N226 on the other side of the highway, driving away from Maarsbergen. The N226 terminates at a roundabout not long after. Here, head left onto the N225 driving into Leersum. At the roundabout in the centre of town, head right, followed by a left turn right after. Once you see the town on your left and the countryside on your right, take the next turn right (onto the Boerenbuurt), following this road. After staying on this road for some six kilometres, you will find yourself on the edge of Wijk bij Duurstede. To get to the town centre, turn left onto the Zandweg once you can, and follow this road. At the end of the road, you will see the edge of the town centre.
By public transit
The nearest train station to Wijk bij Duurstede is Driebergen-Zeist on the Utrecht—Arnhem intercity line (the station is serviced by Intercity and Sprinter trains). From Driebergen-Zeist, bus 56 goes to Wijk bij Duurstede. Aditionally you can get to Wijk bij Duurstede via a longer bus connection, that being bus line 41 from Utrecht Centraal via Bunnik.
- Rhine cycle route (Rijn-Fietsroute) or EuroVelo 15 from Arnhem via Wageningen or Dordrecht via Gorinchem
- 1 Kasteel Duurstede (Duurstede Castle), Langs de Wal 6, ☎ .
- 2 Museum Dorestad, Muntstraat 42, ☎ . 1:30-5 PM. The Dorestad museum features many relics from the ninth century in relation to the many viking raids on Dorestad.
- 3 Runmolenpoort, Dijkstraat 29. The Runmolenpoort and the windmill it has been named after, is a windmill located on top of one of the city gates, making it the only drive-through windmill of the world.
- Sea Shanty and Old Steam boat festival. Last Saturday of September.
- 1 Hotel/Bistro Florian, Markt 2, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. €82.
- 2 De Gouden Leeuw, Zandweg 8, ☎ . €89.50.